A model court acquitted a man accused of stabbing a drug addict to death in a fight over heroin, refusing to accept the shaky testimony of the prosecution’s “sole eyewitness” after he admitted to having testified in multiple cases.
Muhammad Khurram had been charged with murdering Lali on the main Korangi Road near the Government Girls Degree College in Korangi No. 4 in February 2021.
Additional District & Sessions Judge Abdul Zahoor Chandio of the Model Criminal Trial Court (East) expressed surprise when the witness admitted during cross-examination that he had been produced as a witness in three to four cases by the police.
“This conduct of the eyewitness clearly shows that he is a managed witness and has been planted to implicate the present accused,” said the judge.
“Under these circumstances, I am of the humble view that evidence of the alleged eyewitness cannot be considered to award conviction to the accused, and ocular evidence is of no use to the prosecution and cannot be relied upon.”
Surprisingly, continued the judge, the accused was arrested four days after the incident on the pointation of the witness from the bushes in Korangi No. 5.
The judge noted that the witness had failed to explain what he was doing there, since he was a resident of Bhittai Colony near the Korangi Crossing.
The judge also observed that though it was the police’s responsibility to search and arrest the accused, as the FIR was lodged on behalf of the state, the witness was “so active” than the police that he voluntarily searched the accused by skipping his work.
He said that the alleged eyewitness’s deposition was fraught with contradictions, anomalies and discrepancies. Furthermore, the judge pointed out, the prosecution also relied on “extrajudicial confession” of the accused, who during the course of investigation admitted to his guilt and identified the place of incident before the police.
“It is important to mention that the confession of the accused before the police is an inadmissible piece of evidence and cannot be relied upon as per articles 38 and 39 of Qanun-e-Shahadat unless it is made before a judicial magistrate.”
The judge also pulled up investigating officer Muhammad Iqbal for “managing” the story of the recovery of the crime weapon from Khurram, saying that nothing was recovered from his possession but was foisted upon him.
He said that medical evidence also did not prove the alleged guilt of the accused, ruling that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against him beyond any shadow of a reasonable doubt, and therefore, acquitted him of the murder charge.
He then directed the jail authorities to immediately release Khurram if his custody was not required in any other case.
According to the prosecution, on February 24, 2012, Lali came to Khurram and tried to snatch the heroin he had, upon which Khurram attacked Lali with a knife with the intention to commit his murder; Lali suffered several injuries and died during treatment at a hospital the next day.
Since the victim’s heirs remained untraceable, an FIR had been registered on behalf of the state under Section 302 (murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Awami Colony police station.